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William CurranSex Madness (1938)

something has gone horribly wrong 8-p
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This is a typical sex exploitation film from the early 1930s - complete with wild parties, sex out of wedlock, lesbianism, etc. A chorus girl's exposure to the "casting couch" also exposes her to syphilis.

Exploitation filmmakers hoped to capitalize on the taboo subjects of venereal disease, sex before marriage, lesbianism, etc. while skirting the Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 which forbade a film from containing such content. Films like this would tour the United States for years - mostly being shown in rundown, skid row theaters. This film has been re-edited and re-titled ("Human Wreckage", "They Must Be Told", "Trial Marriage", "About Trial Marriage") many times to attract the same audience to film, to take advantage of a taboo subject which may have gotten press recently or to appease local censors who disapproved of the film's content.

You can find more information regarding this film on its IMDb page.

Also, if you are interested in the rich, uniquely American history of exploitation films, there are two excellent books on the subject:

"Forbidden Fruit - The Golden Age of the Exploitation Film", Felicia Feaster and Bret Wood, Midnight Marquee Press, 1999.

"Bold! Daring! Shocking! True! A History of Exploitation Films, 1919 - 1959" Eric Schaefer, Duke University Press, 1999


This movie is part of the collection: Feature Films

Director: William Curran
Production Company: Cinema Service Corp.
Audio/Visual: sound, b&w
Keywords: exploitation; melodrama

Creative Commons license: Public Domain


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Reviews
Average Rating: 2.88 out of 5 stars2.88 out of 5 stars2.88 out of 5 stars

Reviewer: Robbmeister X - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - November 14, 2013
Subject: More Sex Please, We Like to Party
I have a BFI collection called The Birds and the Bees I'm fond of, compiled out of old sex education films. Pretty much all of them prior to the '60s are pro-abstintence efforts, and though this film uses the format mainly to target an adult audience, it plays as an extended take on any of those shorts in my collection. There's a cosy, nostalgic value in these old films, even if they're as somewhat hamfisted as this one. Producer Dwain Esper was also behind (as director) the 'so bad it's brilliant' Maniac and (as producer) Reefer Madness, which in spite of its modern cultdom is a merely awful film in spite of some amusing moments, shapeless, hectoring and sluggish. This is actually a suprisingly competent and pacy, entertaining affair despite the lack of care which has gone into it. I'd prefer it to be camper, though. There's a guy playing a medical expert in this film - the "If this is not stopped, mankind is bound for a new age of darkness" one, who I'm almost sure is also in an identical role in one of my BFI flicks. If so, then his role here only scraps his bombastic direness as an actor. Anyway, enjoy. At least the makers had good taste in music. The orchestral excerpts popping up from time to time are from the first movement of Bruckner's Symphony No.8.

Reviewer: simplertimes - 2.00 out of 5 stars2.00 out of 5 stars - July 25, 2013
Subject: SAVE MY SOUL !
WHAT ARE ALL THE BRAIN DEAD RELIGIOUS MORONS DOING ON HERE ?

Reviewer: kristinmak - 1.00 out of 5 stars - September 17, 2012
Subject: Producers were smut peddlers in reality
I just read about one of those old time producers, turns out these type of films were created deliberately to sound "helpful" but in reality were the producers way of getting smut into regular theatres. They could not release them otherwise. My grandmother told me the same thing, and that NO BODY bought the idea that these were educational unless you were very ignorant. Basically, only southern bumpkins bought the idea that these films were for real. It has something to do with the "45 Goals of Communism" (look it up, google it). Yes, this is all true, I'm not making it up lol. Once you watch them, you'll realize they are horrible quality, bad acting- and not very educational at all. Everyone already knew about this stuff, but there was a faction who was desperate to get some sort of smut out in basic population so they made these films.

Reviewer: Vintagefan01 - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - August 20, 2012
Subject: Lesbians?
Who was a lesbian in this film?

Reviewer: el_gallo_azul - 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars - August 19, 2012
Subject: tchoh! very disappointed to see other social ills
1. millicent's father needs to watch a similar movie but with 'smoking' as the theme.

2. Tony Lorenz and his friends need to watch a similar movie but with 'drinking' as the theme.

it's a noble attempt at essential puritan education other than these points.

Reviewer: mohamid - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - June 26, 2012
Subject: Madness of today
mohammad would have loved this movie as it has no
warnings about having sex with pigs and 9 year old
girls. the leatherboys at the homo clubs love to
listen to the queeran while doing each other.
please, get your tongue out of your anus and quit
filling up a movie review site with pleas to join your silly delusions about a medieval pervert.

Reviewer: orderofjames - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - June 14, 2012
Subject: Are You Kidding Me!
What did you do, copy and paste the entire Qur'an? Go find some women to oppress or something.

Enjoyed the movie though.

Reviewer: Psy-Fi - 1.00 out of 5 stars - May 19, 2012
Subject: Great title!
Lousy movie.

Reviewer: tianzhiwu - 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars - September 13, 2011
Subject: 看得不是很懂啊
看了20几分钟,感觉似懂非懂,一般般把

Reviewer: Brian Pinette - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - September 6, 2011
Subject: Very good for the time it was written and released
It is almost verbatim in the same type of dialogue, titles that the films shown to the U.S. armed forces as well as other films shown abroad to soldiers re: social diseases. During that time in history, this was the belief. The morals were different as was everything. Science in this regard was in its infancy. For that matter, talking pictures were still young. The acting and screenplay was okay for that time for such a serious topic that the major studios, MGM, Fox, alluded to, but could not actually speak of.

Reviewer: arabtv - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - May 22, 2011
Subject: thanksss
Great firm. May i quot this movie to display on this site:

http://www.tv3arb.com/

Reviewer: mena2010 - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - May 9, 2011
Subject: amazing
this is amazing movie

http://www.box-officeonline.com

http://softprogrames.com

Reviewer: jeffzkrazie - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - May 7, 2011
Subject: The Splue
The world's female fatale sex-o-maniac

Reviewer: splue - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - May 6, 2011
Subject: if sex is madness
call me crazy!

Reviewer: allanmr - - November 27, 2010
Subject: Sins of the flesh
THE SINS OF THE FLESH ARE NOT JUST SEX,AS PREACHED IN THE MEDIA BY MANY,BUT VIOLENCE,EVEN THE VIOLENCE OF WARS, THE WORST KIND OF VIOLENCE, KILING IN LARGE NUMBERS,BODIES BLOWN APART. YET THE MEDIA TENDS TO GLORIFY WARS,NOT DISCOURAGE THEM.IF WARS WERE OF GOD,HE WOULDN'T WANT US TO EVER LEARN WAR NO MORE,AS THE BIBLE SAYS IN ISAIAH 2:4. AND BECAUSE MAN, WHEN TEACHING ABOUT GOD,DOESN'T CONDEMN WARS,BUT IS OBSESSED WITH SEX,THE BIBLE ENDS IN THE WORST WAR EVER,SAYS REVELATION, WHICH DOESN'T DWELL ON SEXUAL SINS,GOD WILL EVENTUALLY DO THE TEACHING,GIVING THE DEVIL ENOUGH ROPE TO HANG HIMSELF.JESUS SAYS,HE FULFILLS ALL THE PROPHETS,INCLUDING THE PROPHET ISAIAH,AND ISAIAH 2:4.I HAVE NO DESIRE TO SEE THIS FILM,AND MOST WAR MOVIES I DON'T LIKE TO WATCH.

Reviewer: Dr Feel Rotten - - October 24, 2010
Subject: Now I know
All these years of getting laid and even becoming a grandpa i never knew that being "friendly" would make my dick fall off.
If all these things were actually true and if jerking off caused blindness then by now I would have devolved back to a being with no eyes whatsoever like an earthworm.
Well now that I'm an old codger and my sex life is almost non-existent i guess i can relax and tell kids to not be "friendly".. After all.. They don't want to end up like me.

Reviewer: doowopbob - 1.00 out of 5 stars - March 12, 2010
Subject: ....brsean....
....Needs To Get A Life..!..He's To Be WATCHED..!..Busting Hymens Was A Hobby In My Teen Years In The Sixties...Sitting With The Parents While They Had No Idea Their Daughter Was On Her Knees Or Back, At My House Or The Arnold Arboretum Was A Cool Mind Game...A Young Mans Fancy Turns To Spring..(Bed Springs..!)...Oh The Movie Sucks..!

Reviewer: whiskeycat - 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars - January 12, 2010
Subject: didn't watch all of it
I guess they were trying to scare people and for a good reason, it was pretty bad getting an STD back then because we did not have the medicine to treat it.

I remember watching "the magic bullet" it's the story of dr. Paul Ehrlich who helped find a cure for syphilis. Prior to the discovery of Penicillin, STD's were treated with medicine that contained mercury, it must have been pretty awful taking that stuff.

I don't think penicillin came into wide spread use until the 1940's.


http://www.epigee.org/health/syphilis_treatment.html

Reviewer: 1110babe - 1.00 out of 5 stars - January 10, 2010
Subject: War on Syphilis
(From everything2 on syphilis in the 1930s) First, an examination of the Chicago Syphilis Control Program. This program, part of a nation-wide effort in the years 1937-40, was the
"flagship" of the United States' "War on Syphilis". Much like the "War on Drugs" of today, it met with varied degrees of success and failure. It did provide much information about syphilis demographics, and allowed health officials a chance to inform an otherwise prudish population about a sexually transmitted disease.

When I watched this movie in light of the public health campaign it was more interesting, and that icky deformed foot certainly looked realistic! It was because of this campaign that blood tests became mandatory for wedding licenses, and pregnant women and babies were checked for STDs. So while, yes, it was poorly acted and poorly scripted, and off the charts lurid, the end had a lot of medical validity that, as they say, was torn from the headlines. I was ready to put it in the same category as Reefer Madness but then it morphed into something historical. So I'll give it a star because it inspired me to do some research and learn something. (Now I want to find out what sort of treatments they were offering in 1938 so back to my googling.)

Reviewer: keygrip - - October 15, 2009
Subject: The worst film on the site by far
Badly acted boring crap.
Don't bother with it. No stars

Reviewer: Chetzpt22 - - July 23, 2009
Subject: brsean's strap on
that book long review you wrote is a good example of why the world has been at war killing each other for thousands of years (like the one we have now!)because of religious frantic's - if I knew you I would build you a cross with a little wheel at the bottom of the T so you could strap yourself to it (better yet let a friend like yourself nail you to it)which for you might release some of that pent up whatever you have & for me it will let me know another religious nut is coming. I have no review - this person bummed me out so much on it I decided to just download it watch at a another time.

Reviewer: DaNess - 1.00 out of 5 stars - June 22, 2009
Subject: someone get brsean a life lol
People who make huge negative and witty reviews like that are critic wannabes and have no life

I will admit in short-form that this short-flick is extremely boring

Reviewer: Seto-Kaiba_Is_Stupid - 1.00 out of 5 stars - June 2, 2009
Subject: Hmm
I've seen more dirt in "Saved by the Bell".

Reviewer: Katies - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - April 27, 2009
Subject: Great firm
Great firm. May i quot this movie to display on this site:

http://www.siamtech.net

Reviewer: jandtsmom - 1.00 out of 5 stars - April 14, 2009
Subject: Yawn
Boring.......

Reviewer: brsean - 1.00 out of 5 stars - April 9, 2009
Subject: Such a Popular Item ... What do the Saints Say?...
St Alphonsus De Liguori, a Doctor of the Church, in "The Four Gates of Hell" says this about sins against chastity: "It is by this gate that the greater number of the damned enter. Some will say that it is a trifling sin. Is it a trifling sin? It is a mortal sin. St. Antoninus writes that such is the nauseousness of this sin that the devils themselves cannot endure it. Moreover, the Doctors of the Church say that certain demons, who have been superior to the rest, remembering their ancient dignity, disdain tempting to so loathsome a sin. Consider then how disgusting he must be to God, who, like a dog, is ever returning to his vomit, or wallowing like a pig in the stinking mire of this accursed vice (2 Pet 2: 22). The impure say, moreover, "God has compassion on us who are subject to this vice, because He knows that we are flesh." What do you say? God has compassion on this vice? But you must know that the most horrible chastisements with which God has ever visited the earth have been drawn down by this vice. St. Jerome says that this is the only sin of which we read that it caused God to repent of having made man, for all flesh had become corrupted (Gen 6: 6-12). And so it is, St. Jerome says, that there is no sin which God punishes so rigorously, even upon earth, as this. He once sent fire from Heaven upon five cities, and consumed all their inhabitants for this sin (Sodom and Gomorrah, Gen
18-19). Principally on account of this sin did God destroy mankind, with the exception of eight persons, by the flood. It is a sin which God punishes, not only in the other life, but in this also. Because, says God, you have forgotten Me and turned your back upon Me, for a miserable pleasure of the flesh, I am resolved that even in this life you shall pay the price of your wickedness (Ezek 23: 35). You say, "God has compassion upon men subject to this sin." But it is this sin that sends most men to Hell. St. Remigius says that the greater number of the damned are in Hell through this vice. Father Segneri writes that as this vice fills the world with sinners, so it fills Hell with damned souls; and before him St. Bernardine of Siena wrote: "This sin draws the whole world, as it were, into sin." And before him St. Bernard and St. Isidore said that "the human race is brought under the power of the devil more by lust than by all the other vices." The reason is because this vice proceeds from the natural inclination of the flesh. Hence St Thomas Aquinas says that the devil does not take such complacency in securing the commission of any other sin as of this, because the person who is plunged in this infernal mire remains lodged therein, and almost wholly unable to free himself again. "No one is so obstinate in sin as the impure," says St. Thomas of Villanova. Moreover, this vice deprives one of all light, for the impure man becomes so blind as almost wholly to forget God, says St. Laurence Justinian; which is in accordance with what is said by the prophet Hosea: They will not set their thoughts to return to their God; for the spirit of fornication is in the midst of them, and they have not known God (Hos 5: 4). The impure man does not know God; he obeys neither God nor reason, as St. Jerome says; he obeys only the sensual appetite which causes him to act like a beast.
This sin, because it flatters, makes us fall at once into the habit of it, a habit which some carry with them even to death. You see husbands, and decrepit old men, indulge in the same thoughts and committing the same sins that they committed in their youth. And because sins of this kind are so easily committed, they become multiplied without number. Ask of the sinner how many impure thoughts he has consented to: he will tell you he cannot remember. But, brother, if you cannot tell the number, God can; and you know that a single willful immodest thought is enough to send you to Hell. How many immodest words have you spoken, in which you took delight yourself, and by which you scandalized your neighbor? From thoughts and words you proceed to acts, and to those innumerable impurities which those wretches roll and wallow in like swine, without ever being satisfied, for this vice is never satisfied.
But, Father, you will say, how can I hold out against the innumerable temptations which assail me? I am weak, I am flesh. And since you are weak, why not recommend yourself to God, and to most holy Mary, who is the mother of purity? Since you are flesh, why do you throw yourself in the way of sin? Why do you not
guard your eyes? Why do you gaze upon those objects from which temptations flow?...It is to be remarked, moreover, that this sin brings with it innumerable others: enmities, thefts, and, more especially, sacrilegious confessions and Communions, by reason of the shame which will not allow these impurities to be disclosed in confession. And let us remark here in passing, that it is sacrilege above all things, that brings upon us sickness and death; for, says the Apostle, He that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord; and then he adds: therefore are many infirm and weak among you. And St. John Chrysostom, in explanation of that passage, says that St. Paul speaks of persons who were chastised with bodily infirmities because they received the Sacrament with a guilty conscience.
My brethren, should you ever have been sunk in this vice, I do not bid you be disheartened, but arise at once from this foul and infernal pit; beg of God immediately to give you light, and stretch out His hand to you. The first thing that you have to do is to break with the occasion of sin: without that, preaching and tears and resolutions and confessions, all are lost. Remove the occasions, and then constantly recommend yourself to God, and to Mary the mother of purity. No matter how grievously you may be tempted, do not be discouraged by the temptation; at once call to your aid Jesus and Mary, pronouncing their sacred names. These blessed names have the virtue of making the devil fly, and stifling that hellish flame within you. If the devil persists in tempting you, persevere in calling upon Jesus and Mary, and certainly you shall not fall. In order to rid yourself of your evil habits, undertake some special devotion to our Lady; begin to fast in her honor upon Saturdays; contrive to visit her image every day, and beg of her to obtain for you deliverance from that vice. Every morning immediately after rising, never omit saying three "Hail Marys" in honor of her purity and do the same when going to bed; and above all things, as I have said, when the temptation is most troublesome, call quickly upon Jesus and Mary. Beware, brother, if you do not be converted now, you may never be converted.

Reviewer: Cousin Eerie - 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars - December 3, 2008
Subject: I'll tell you what's funny...
The film itself wasn't actually made as a comedy, so by someone saying this film is 'funny' means that the quality of the film is so low, the acting so poor and the content so skewed that it is humorous.
This is a cult classic, such as Reefer Madness, Cocaine Fiends and the like. I find all of these films 'funny' for the same reason that Sex Fiends is.
Did you ever see Mystery Science Theatre 3000? None of the films on that show were supposed to be funny, but by the hosts of the show adding smart aleck comments and pointing out the bad acting and effects, it made the films hilarious.
I guess you just need a certain kind of humor to appreciate the hilarity of this film.

Reviewer: Meatpies - - November 9, 2008
Subject: Who said this was supposed to be funny?
Unfunny and overrated?

This wasn't supposed to be funny. And I don't recall anyone saying this film is supposed to be the next Gone With The Wind...

Maybe Thomas needs to switch to decaf

Reviewer: Classic_TV_and_Radio_Fan - 1.00 out of 5 stars - November 7, 2008
Subject: Crap
UNFUNNY AND OVERRATED!

Reviewer: k-otic - - November 4, 2008
Subject: who´s thomas
no need to shout thomas, there is nothing that become true trough shouting

Credits

Screenplay: Joseph Seiden and Vincent Valentini

With Vivian McGill, Rose Tapley, Al Rigeli, Stanley Barton, Linda Lee Hill.